|(Aug 31, 2018, 11:35 a.m.) -- CA's Fair Political Practices Commission's Enforcement Division has cleared Councilwoman Suzie Price of allegations by four Long Beach taxpayers (Tom Stout, Diana Lejins, Dr. Joe Weinstein and retired Long Beach Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, who collectively authored the ballot argument against Measure M) that she improperly used public funds in communications to advocate for June 2018 passage of Measure M (city utility revenue transfer/diversion.)
In an August 28 "No Action Closure Letter," FPPC Commission Counsel (Enforcement Division) Ruth Yang writes in pertinent part:
...[W]e are closing this matter because there is insufficient evidence to support a finding that there was a violation of the [Political Reform] Act.
As previously reported by LBREPORT.com, a July 24 letter from FPCC's Enforcement Division stated that it had opened an investigation into July 11 allegations by the four Long Beach taxpayers that the City of Long Beach had used public money for communications that the City portrayed as "informational" but amounted to campaign advocacy for passage of Measure M. The four complainants also alleged that Mayor Garcia and Councilmembers Andrews, Richardson and Price had used public funds for communications that advocated passage of Measure M.
The FPPC's July 24 letter stated that its Enforcement Division found insufficient evidence that Mayor Garcia, Councilmembers Andrews and Richardson had used taxpayer-paid resources for communications that advocated passage of Measure M. The Aug. 28 letter reached the same conclusion for the reasons stated above regarding Councilwoman Price.
To our knowledge, FPPC's investigation into the taxpayers' allegations regarding the City of LB's action continues.
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By way of context, a political committee, legally separate from the City of Long Beach, operated by Mayor Garcia, raised over $125,000 for a campaign advocating passage of Measure M. The Garcia-operated political committee's two largest contributors were LB's police officer and firefighter union PACs. Opponents had minimal resources. On June 5, Measure M passed with roughly 53.9% of the vote.
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